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Hippy Subculture

Hippy Subculture

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Published by Jordan Aguilar

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Published by: Jordan Aguilar on Jan 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during themid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. Both the words "hip" and "hep" camefrom African American culture and denote "awareness". The early hippies inherited thecountercultural values of the Beat Generation, created their own communities, listened topsychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as cannabis, LSD andmagic mushrooms to explore altered states of consciousness.
Origins of the movement
The first signs of modern "proto-hippies" emerged in Europe at the end of the XIX century.Between 1896 and 1908, a German youth movement arose as a countercultural reaction to theorganized social and cultural clubs that centered around German folk music. Known as Der Wandervogel ("migratory bird"), the movement opposed the formality of traditional German clubs,instead emphasizing amateur music and singing, creative dress, and communal outings involvinghiking and camping. Inspired by the works of Nietzsche, Goethe, Hesse, and Eduard Baltzer,Wandervogel attractedthousands of young Germanswho rejected the rapid trendtoward urbanization andyearned for the pagan, back-to-nature spiritual life of their ancestors.
During the first severaldecades of the twentiethcentury, Germans settledaround the United States,bringing the values of theWandervogel with them.Some opened the first healthfood stores, and many movedto Southern California wherethey could practice analternative lifestyle in a warmclimate. Over time, young Americans adopted the beliefsand practices of the new immigrants. One group, called the "Nature Boys", took to the Californiadesert and raised organic food, espousing a back-to-nature lifestyle like the Wandervogel. LikeWandervogel, the hippie movement in the United States began as a youth movement. Composedmostly of white teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25 years old, hippiesinherited a tradition of cultural dissent from bohemians and beatniks of the Beat Generation in thelate 1950s. By 1965, hippies had become an established social group in the U.S., and themovement eventually expanded to other countries. Along with the New Left and the American Civil Rights Movement, the hippie movement was oneof three dissenting groups of the 1960s counterculture. Hippies rejected established institutions,criticized middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War, embracedaspects of Eastern philosophy, championed sexual liberation, were often vegetarian and eco-
friendly, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs which they believed expanded one'sconsciousness, and created intentional communities or communes. They used alternative arts,street theatre, folk music, and psychedelic rock as a part of their lifestyle and as a way of expressing their feelings, their protests and their vision of the world and life. Hippies opposedpolitical and social orthodoxy, choosing a gentle and non-doctrinaire ideology that favored peace,love and personal freedom. Hippies perceived the dominant culture as a corrupt, monolithic entitythat exercised undue power over their lives, calling this culture "The Establishment", "BigBrother", or "The Man".
Hippies sought to free themselves from societal restrictions, choose their own way, and find newmeaning in life. One expression of hippie independence from societal norms was found in their standard of dress and grooming, which made hippies instantly recognizable to one another, andserved as a visual symbol of their respect for individual rights. Through their appearance, hippiesdeclared their willingness to question authority, and distanced themselves from the "straight" and"square" (i.e., conformist) segments of society. Personality traits and values hippies tend to beassociated with are "altruism and mysticism, honesty, joy and nonviolence". As in the beat movement preceding them, and the punk movement that followed soon after,hippie symbols and iconography were purposely borrowed from either "low" or "primitive"cultures, with hippie fashion reflecting a disorderly, often vagrant style. As with other adolescent,white middle-class movements, deviant behavior of the hippies involved challenging theprevailing gender differences of their time: both men and women in the hippie movement wore jeans and maintained long hair, and both genders wore sandals or went barefoot.Men often wore beards, while women wore little or no makeup, with many going without bras.Hippies often chose brightly colored clothing and wore unusual styles, such as bell-bottom pants,vests, tie-dyed garments, dashikis, peasant blouses, and long, full skirts; non-Western inspiredclothing with Native American, Asian, Indian, African and Latin American motifs were alsopopular. Much of hippie clothing was self-made in defiance of corporate culture, and hippies often
purchased their clothes from flea markets and second-hand shops. Favored accessories for bothmen and women included Native American jewelry, head scarves, headbands and long beadednecklaces. Hippie homes, vehicles and other possessions were often decorated with psychedelicart.
Hippies tended to travel light and could pick up and go wherever the action was at any time.Whether at a "love-in" on Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco, a demonstration against theVietnam War in Berkeley, or one of Ken Kesey's "Acid Tests", if the "vibe" wasn't right and achange of scene was desired, hippies were mobile at a moment's notice. Planning was avoidedas hippies were happy to put a few clothes in a backpack, stick out their thumbs and hitchhikeanywhere. Hippies seldom worried whether they had money, hotel reservations or any of theother standard needs for travelling. Hippie households welcomed overnight guests on animpromptu basis, and the reciprocal nature of the lifestyle permitted freedom of movement.People generally cooperated to meet each other's needs in ways that became less common after the early 1970s." A derivative of this free-flow style of travel was hippie trucks and buses, hand-crafted mobile houses built on truck or bus chassis to facilitate a nomadic lifestyle. Some of thesemobile gypsy houses were quite elaborate with beds, toilets, showers and cooking facilities.
Following in the well-worn footsteps of the Beats, the hippies also used cannabis (marijuana),considering it pleasurable and benign. They enlarged their spiritual pharmacopeia to includehallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline while renouncing the use of alcohol. Onthe East Coast of the United States, Harvard University professors Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) advocated psychotropic drugs for psychotherapy, self-exploration, religious and spiritual use. Regarding LSD, Leary said, "Expand your consciousnessand find ecstasy and revelation within."On the West Coast of the United States, Ken Kesey was an important figure in promoting therecreational use of psychotropic drugs, especially LSD, also known as "acid." By holding what hecalled "Acid Tests", and touring the country with his band of Merry Pranksters, Kesey became amagnet for media attention that drew many young people to the fledgling movement. The Grateful

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